LeBron James is committed to the Cleveland Cavaliers, but not for long ... for now. James is signing a two-year, $41 million deal instead of the maximum four years, which allows him to become a free agent again when the league's new TV deal kicks in, according to ESPN's Brian Windhorst. The deal also includes an option for James to become a free agent next year.
This was the move that many speculated James would make if he re-signed with the Miami Heat because it would buy him time to truly assess the landscape when making his next move. However, James is "fully committed" to re-up with the Cavaliers once his deal ends, according to Windhorst.
Back to Cleveland
James is structuring the deal this way to give him maximum flexibility for a number of different scenarios. Most notably, the new television deal in 2016 is expected to kick the salary cap up to $80 million, $17 million higher than it was this year. A max contract is a portion of the cap, so James can sign a bigger deal than he'd lock himself into now if he signed for multiple years. James also can become a free agent before the league's labor contract expires in 2017. And, of course, James also keeps his options open should the situation with Cleveland go haywire.
It's rare to see a star do this because of the risk of injury, but James can do so because of his earnings off the court.